Chuck Sweater

Have you ever knit something that just comes together perfectly that you want to scream from the top of a building, ” I did it! I have created the ultimate fitted sweater!”

Well my Chuck Sweater is this knitted object. Everything from the color to the final fit just came together to form a fantastic garment. Often when knitting sweaters something goes a little wonky, but not with Chuck. The pattern and charts were easy to follow, I enjoyed working with the yarn and seeing the pattern unfold in my lap.

I used Cascade 220 Superwash in Dark Periwinkle (discontinued). I love Cascade 220 for sweaters as it has nice stitch definition and is an affordable wool.

In the past, I have had fit issues with Andi Satterlund’s patterns. My sweaters have either come out too small or too large. Andi designs with a retro fit in mind which generally means negative ease. My body shape (short torso, muscular frame) often isn’t compatible with her designs as written. I generally make modifications and/or give my sweaters to others. Figuring out the right garment proportions for my body is something I continue to struggle with despite me having 16 years of knitting experience. However, I had great optimism for Chuck. The design works from the back shoulders and over the chest area before it is joined under the arms. This construction was great for me as I could try on the garment as I knit.

My final result? A sweater that I love and fits my body shape wonderfully! I really enjoyed the Chuck pattern as it had just enough difficulty (cabling on front panel only) that I felt challenged without feeling overworked. I had never tried a project with this open cable pattern so I was glad I expanded my horizons.

What handmade garment have you made that has resulted in an amazing fit?

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

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Yarn Shopping in Tokyo, Japan

Currently, my husband and I are in Japan. We are really loving it. The people are lovely and the food is fantastic. Before we arrived I did a little research about yarn shopping. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few sources to locate yarn stores. I used a list from Travel Knitter as well as Knitmap. Just my luck there was a craft store about 1 km from our hotel! The description sounded like this place was a crafter’s heaven.

Okadaya is located off the Shinjuku metro stop across from “Godzilla Road.” Okadaya stocks fabric, yarn, buttons, sewing notions…etc. I headed right for the yarn floor (Floor 5). The area was spacious and there was quite a selection to choose from. I also appreciated that the staff didn’t hover, but when I had a question they were friendly and helpful.

Most of the brands stocked were new to me. There were European brands as well as Japanese. I loved that they had all of the yarn out for petting! Okadaya’s stock was mainly wool, but I did manage to find some cotton yarn. I have two more knit tops that I want to make for summer. I purchased NaturaXL (aran weight) and Natura (fingering weight yarn).

My husband was with me and asked for some more hand knitted socks. Funny how whenever I go to the yarn store with him we walk away with a skein for him too. He found a pretty cool sock yarn by Opal. They took famous paintings and applied the colors to the yarn. My husband chose the colorway inspired by Le Café, le soir as he is partial to blue.

I also remembered that my Blaster sweater still needed some buttons. I went down one floor down to the button section. With so many choices I really had to stay focused. I ended up choosing buttons with a green and blue mosaic. I am not sure if they are the best fit. If they don’t work with my Blaster sweater I am sure I can find something else to knit up to go with them. 😉

Okadaya was a great experience. The shop had good prices (as compared to yarn prices in the US) and a variety of items that appeal to all crafters. Despite not specializing in yarn, I left feeling excited with my new purchases.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

If you are interested in learning more my about our travels in Japan please visit Smithberrys Abroad.

Simple Knitted Beanies

I have discovered one co-worker who enjoys knitting. Recently, she stopped me in the hall and asked if I knew any simple beanie (toque) patterns she could make. “Sure!” I said.

Here are some of my favorites that are easy to knit (and free!):

Barley Hat by Tin Can Knits- This is a great beginner’s hat. Tin Can Knits does a wonderful job with the tutorial within the pattern as well as creating a pattern that fits all ages.

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Bankhead by Susie Gourlay– I have never made this pattern, but I really like the wide ribbing. There is also a great backstory to the naming of the pattern.

Classic Cuffed Hat by Purl Soho– Love Purl Soho, love the simplicity of this hat. classic-cuffed-hats-wt-600-20-662x441

Graham by Jennifer Adams- Graham has a simple construction with a pretty easy texture pattern. It makes for great TV knitting.

What is (are) your favorite simple knitted beanie pattern(s)? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Mimic Sweater

My Mimic Sweater by Veronika Jobe is finally blocked! I have to say it came out fantastic. I was so glad the pattern gave great tips on blocking. I didn’t use clothespins as suggested. Instead, I made sure to let the bottom on the sweater drape over the edge of a ledge while drying. By doing this, the pattern really opened up and the result was a garment with great drape. Lately it has been quite chilly in Guangzhou so I used my Mimic as a layer piece. However, this sweater is super lightweight so I can picture myself wearing it in warmer weather.

 

What have you been working on? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

In-Betweener Hat

Mimic is officially off the needles and drying from a good soak. From what I can tell the yarn stretched really nicely so I will have a nice flowy sweater. I wasn’t quite sure what to start on next so I pulled out some of my leftover yarn from my Pivot Cowl to whip up an infant beanie.

This beanie is so soft. I love the vividness of the jungle green color. I knit a 1×1 rib for about 1.5 inches. I then alternated the “Frankie Says Relax” and “Jaded” yarns from Magpie Fibers to make a hat with a 6.5 inch total height. I did end up with a little color pooling, but I don’t think it looks too bad.

For me, infant hats are a great in-between project. They help use up my yarn left-overs while trying to figure out my next project. They also are a pretty quick and mindless FO to whip up.

What is your favorite in-between project? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Knitting Mimic

Mimic is a pattern that needs you to make wise yarn choices. Early last year, I attempted to make this sweater with some older yarn from my stash. It was a wool/acrylic blend that I bought way back when. The pattern has a special note about swatching (hanging clothes pins from the swatch when wet to imitate the blocking process) so I made sure to follow it. My swatch looked pretty good.  About 1.5 sections into the sweater I noticed that the fiber I choose was not doing what I imagined it would do. The garment looked too stiff and boxy…not at all like the picture. I was dissatisfied with it so I frogged it. I still loved the pattern so I stashed it away for another day.

Looking at all of the yarn I bought in Beijing I thought this wine colored yarn would fit Mimic’s needs. This yarn is a lighter weight than my original choice and has a certain squish to it. I am again about 3/4 of the way done and things are looking much better. I believe I will achieve my desired look. I have just the back armholes to work and then I will be done!

When was the last time (if ever) that you put aside a project due to yarn-pattern incompatibility? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

2017: A Review

Well it has been a wild year. Not only did I move half way across the world, but I got some good knitting in. In 2017, I made 10 sweaters. 4 for babies, 2 cardigans, and 4 pullovers. Sprinkled in there were a lot of cowls and hats, and a few pairs of socks.

The longest project to complete was my Forever April Sweater. The gauge was very small (US size 4 needles) and by the end of the body it was hard to keep going. I think I just wanted a change from the stockinette.

My favorite sweater was the Red Leaf Top. I love the lacy yoke and the color is the perfect shade of red!

Here are the other top 9 items that I really enjoyed creating this year:

I hope your knitting year was fruitful and you can reflect back on the things you learned along the way.

Have a Happy New Year and I hope to have many new knitting adventures in 2018!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-